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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:What Does Agrarian Wage-Labour Signify? Cotton, Commoditisation and Social Form in Gokwe, Zimbabwe
Author:Worby, Eric
Periodical:The Journal of Peasant Studies
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Subjects:labour history
labour relations
Economics and Trade
Labor and Employment
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
History and Exploration
Abstract:In the decade following Zimbabwe's independence, the idea of a homogeneous, subsistence peasantry was soon dissolved by the 'discovery' of agrarian wage relations in the former African reserves. Simultaneously, residual collective labour forms were identified both as signs of a precapitalist past and as institutional templates out of which a socialist future in agriculture might be imagined and constructed. This paper, which is based on fieldwork carried out in 1988-1989 in the Gokwe-Sanyati region in northwestern Zimbabwe, examines the complex history (from the early colonial period - 1890s-1920s - to the 1980s) of commodity production, domestic relations and labour forms in Gokwe - an intense and recent venue of agrarian commoditization focused upon cotton in the northwest. In Gokwe, an idealized contrast between collective and wage labour - taken as tokens of a historical sequence - fails to capture either the variety of labour forms, their interrelationship over time, or their relation to shifts in the regional agrarian class structure. Indeed, the increase in intensity of agrarian commodity production has been accompanied by an efflorescence of cooperative or collective labour forms. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum.